Part One Of One

Professor Sneeeeeep takes his first look at Planeshift cards!

Stave One – In Which An Overview Of Subjects To Come Is Presented By Way Of An Introduction
Things have been awful quiet over at the Big House these last few months and I was getting worried that the insane pastry chef and senior Magic: the Gathering authority, Professor Gabriel Once-Twice-Three Times A Lady Sneeep*, had met with some disaster and was now decomposing in a flour-strewn bread oven with nought to mark his passing but a greased cake tin! Oh, but the tragedy of it all fair breaks the heart! Fortunately, he hadn’t actually managed to destroy his mortal being with a compote of flaky-pastry cups and organic jam, but was, instead, perusing and analysing the rumour sheets and spoilers for the latest M:tG extravaganza that is PLANESHIFT.

The following article is complete – or as complete as it could possibly be (in that this is what he sent to me via a murder of salt-dough crows, page-by-page); though he assured me that if anything was missing, then it was probably karma-related and not worth worrying about.

To say that the man is a strange fish would be under-egging his particular pudding, I fear**.

Stave Two – Being An Evaluation Of PLANESHIFT by Prof G. Winkle-Picker Sneeep
Salutations, fair strumpets, and may I say (before the analysis capitalises its first four letters) how delightful you look in those brogues? No? Very well, I shall pass over the pleasantries, dearest hearts, and immediately apply the Serrated Roller of Scrutiny to the Crispy-Crust of Magic: The Gathering’s latest expansion.

I shall be grading each card according to a complex system of levers, pulleys, chains, and cricket bats; with a final categorisation into the following brackets:

* W.T.M (or Worth The Money)
* F.A.D (or Fine And Dandy; may see Constructed play, but don’t quote me on it)
* G.I.L (or Good In Limited; unlikely to see Constructed play, as everyone wants to improve ‘Fires’ and discount any other idea – that is, until a Fires meta-deck appears and urinates over all the so-called ‘experts’ – mind you, the experts are probably developing ‘Anti-Fires’ as we speak. Oh, they’re soooooo devious, manipulating us cabbage-brained proles into a Net-deck corner)
* N.S (or Nothing Special)
* I.W.W.M.A.O.I (or Not Even As Toilet Paper)
* I.W.W.M.A.O.I.I.Y.P.M (or Not If You Paid Me)

Depth Of Analysis
Actually, this is probably a good point to own up to the fact that I have only been privy to checklists rather than a full-blown spoiler, so my review is based entirely on hearsay, rumour, cards that I have managed to see over other people’s shoulders, and dreams.


Aura Blast
This sounds like it ought to deal with Enchantments in some shape or form. Personally, I think we need more anti-E spells like a leopard needs a handle, but then what does someone who makes Eccles cakes know about this sort of thing? Reluctantly, I’d give it an N.S.

Aurora Griffin
Some flying thing that turns stuff white. Actually, what caught my eye about this card was the artist is Ciruelo, who paints delightful montages of busty, bikini-clad slappers sucking coca-cola bottles erotically on sandy beaches. The card is G.I.L on account of it being a 2/2 Flying beat-stick, but those artistic memories are deserving of a rootin-tootin W.T.M.

Disciple Of Kangee
The white balloon-peddler? Only if you really have to. I’m going to be harsh and allocate an I.W.W.M.A.O.I, because budgie-fanciers never deserve respect – not under any circumstances. Kangee is a budgie, isn’t he? That’s what my good friend Grantham said in ‘The Tickled Trout’ on Sunday last.

Dominaria’s Judgment
Not sure what this one does – sounds a bit harsh, though, eh? What do you think? F.A.D? Awww please yourself, we can argue about this sort of thing for hours.

Guard Dogs
Urza tramples around the place in a Battletech rehash, hordes of zombies and mutated races pour through portals and overlaid planar components, and this bloke brought his mutts with him? Pure arse.

Heroic Defiance
I’m still winging it with this one. Sounds like a life-gain card – if so, I.W.W.M.A.O.I

Ah – I know this one! A sort of conditional, cantrip Pacifism. Nice. By the way, the artwork is Pollacks! G.I.L

Honorable Scout
Dib-dib-dib your way right into the toilet regions. I.W.W.M.A.O.I

Lashknife Barrier
Ah, this takes me back to those Nemesis draft days when we all revealed the ‘last card passed’ and laughed until milk shot out of our noses*** because everyone’s ‘last card passed’ was a Lashknife! I.W.W.M.A.O.I.I.Y.P.M (on principle, the principle being”it’s poo”)

March Of Souls
Wrathterlife? Obvious combo#1: March of Souls + Simoon – you only need the three colours, then? If you think March of Souls is G.I.L, press ‘1’ on your keypad now; if you think March of Souls is flush-fodder, press ‘2’ on your keypad now; if you think you are inside-out, press ’11’ on your keypad and then go and lie in a darkened room.

Orim’s Chant
Isn’t this a Time Walk? Hardly. N.S (so send them all to me and I’ll put up with having to store them, because they’re just rubbish, aren’t they?)****

Planeswalker’s Mirth
What’s he got to laugh about, I ask you? Nothing! So, without any idea what this card does, I’m slapping a great big I.W.W.M.A.O.I down.

Pollen Remedy
Oh dear. I cad play dis card odd accowd ob by rabant Hay Fever – cad oo review id for be? Danks!

Samite Elder/Samite Pilgrim
Nope. Bored already with Samite stuff.

(I really can’t believe that I’m letting this one get by me – The Ferrett)

Sunscape Battlemage
Wing-walloping, card-drawing, double-kicker madness. Obvious combo#2: White gating creatures. G.I.L

Sunscape Familiar
Like to potato-nosed nonsense that is Plague Spitter, this card annoys me because it makes no sense at all in terms of fitting in with the game. It’s the front of a castle with what can only be described as ‘veins’ across it – and this is supposed to make some spells cost 1 generic mana less to play? You see? No sense at all!

Surprise Deployment
Yet another card I’m having to review without ever seeing it! Sounds like an Aluren rehash – talking of hashes, I’m having corned beef, beans, and mashed potato for my supper this evening – delicious!

Voice Of All
Protection from whatever you want 2/2 flyer for 4 mana – double white in the CC. Unremarkable. Ordinary. Common-place. Run-of-the-mill. Regular. Mundane. Average etc G.I.L


Allied Strategies
Card drawing? For blue? What a novel concept! Can’t imagine anyone bothering to dig these things out of the booster when Probe, Worldly Counsel, or even Opt do the job better . Now if it had been an Instant…or even if it had been any sort of bloody use at all…I.W.W.M.A.O.I

Arctic Merfolk
Cloud Skate was great in Nemesis, wasn’t it… Well, it could fly at least. Still, I’m sure you gating combo merchants will enjoy ‘breaking the merfolk’. Go ahead – I’m not stopping you. N.S.

I like this, but my mate Derek from ‘The Tickled Trout’ disagrees. I cry:”It stops all that horrid removal nonsense!”, to which he responds:”Phugg’n bassudds.” I retort:”AND you get to draw a card,” to which his inevitable reposte is:”Phugg’n bassuds”. It’s often easier to buy the fellow a Turps chaser and be done with it. F.A.D

Dralnu’s Pet
This sounds like it ought to be good, but any card that is an anagram of ‘Under-splat’ needs more work. Glaring Combo#3: Phyrexian Delver with the horridness discarded to make an enormous Pet. Remember, a Dralnu’s Pet is not just for Christmas…F.A.D

Ertai’s Trickery
A counterspell! Hoorah, a counterspell! Possibly a great card, or possibly average – it may even be utter tosh. Time, and the hideously over-rated Pro ‘technician’, will (no doubt) tell. G.I.L

Escape Routes
Piss off.

It’s a great card! Oh no it isn’t! Oh yes it is! Oh no it isn’t! Oh yes it is! (repeat until dead)

Hunting Drake
A 2/2 Flyer with built-in Submerge tech! Well, freak my old boots. Look out for the following ‘not quite a dragon’ cards in Apocalypse:”Sir Francis Drake,””Fear of the Drake,””Drake Heart Of The Wood,” and”Wurm Winds Coming In From The South.” G.I.L (at some point)

Planar Overlay
Ho-hum. Derek says this will break like a”phugg’n bassudd” in short order and we’ll all be cursing PO decks for the foreseeable. I just have three words for you:”Bend Or Break” I.W.W.M.A.O.I.I.Y.P.M

Planeswalker’s Mischief
Psychic wotsit was played a lot, wasn’t it? Honestly, you’d think that R&D were cynically-reworking tired ideas from previous sets just to fill out successive expansions! My Aran jumper has just arrived, by the way, and it’s a little tight around the collar. N.S

Rushing River
I’m running out of things to say and we’re only halfway through the Blue cards! Withdraw was nice, this is nice too (or maybe it isn’t). G.I.L

Sea Snidd
Ha-ha-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha-ha! Snidd! That’s such a funny name! Ha-ha-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha-ha! 3/3 for five with land-change ability? Cool.

Shifting Sky
“Master the sky and you rule everything beneath it!” say the Metathran! Yeah, right – and that’s why we’re all servile to the Sparrow-Folk, or maybe crushed beneath the fascistic heel of the Puffin-People, eh? I’m so angry, I’m going to crap all over my keyboard…

Sisay’s Ingenuity
Whatever next? Tahngarth’s Attitude Problem? Ertai’s Misunderstanding? Karn’s Need To Get In Touch With His Inner Cog? An over-costed, dull ability that will be making me eat my hat in nine months time. H.M.B (Hedge My Bets)

Sleeping Potion
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…………….G.I.L (like, NEVER!)

Stormscape Battlemage
He gives you life (already established as a strategem of the lowest order) and he kills non-black creatures! Imagine the chaos you could cause if he bounces, too! Awesome, in the manner of a hymn book.

Stormscape Familiar
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s a friggin’ owl! Is this Magic: the Gathering or Harry bleedin’ Potter? Look, I’m sorry that I’m getting aggressive – it’s a bad trait of mine. I suppose it’s because I’m frustrated. I miss the baking, you know. I miss kneading the dough, folding the pastry, and piping my cream over those ample buns…

Sunken Hope
(Re-)print the Abyss? Never! Pseudo re-print it as a piece of nonsense? Always! Imagine this and Cowardice – would anyone ever keep anything on the table? Do we really want duels to time out at Zero-Zero with both players on twenty life? How dull would THAT be? (Answers on a postcard to every blue mage everywhere) N.S

Waterspout Elemental
Mmmmmm….Blue/Green bounce just got even bouncier…cast Natural Affinity, then Waterspout Elemental with Kicker (only a 5UUUGG combo)! It’s a 3/4 flyer for five mana – that’s better than Indentured Djinn, in tit? (I get a 4/4 flyer, you draw cards and an answer to the Indentured Djinn*****) F.A.D


Bog Down
It’s black, so this must be discard. I’ve been working on a new mechanic for Black mages – it involves physically interacting with your opponent during a duel, i.e., intimidation, cheating, cruelty – oh, you already do that? Sheesh! G.I.L

Dark Suspicions
Just bring back The Rack! Now! Do it! 2BB? Do they think we’re made of mana? I.W.W.M.A.O.I.

Death Bomb
As Tom Jones sang recently:”Death bomb! Death bomb! You’re my death bomb!”. Black’s a little light on removal at the moment, so one more may help this weak colour struggle into the dim aurora of a new Magical day (that’s”sarcasm”, for the lower-wattage bulbs amongst you) – G.I.L

Diabolic Intent
‘S Tutor. Nuff said. Need this card…Like a hole in’t head.

Exotic Disease
(snigger) Wot – like Herpes-keeper? (snikk) Dream Thrush? Or maybe (arf-arf) Riptide Crabs?

Lord Of The Undead
Ooooh, sounds really scary!”LORD” (say in a deep voice)”OF” (deeper still)”THE” (again, deeper)”UN-” (wait for it)”DEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAD!” (really draw it out at the end). I think I just crapped my pants. Obviously, I won’t insult your obvious intelligence (nice brogues! There! I finally said it!) by saying any more about this card – it’s great! It’s got real possibilities in both Block and Standard – combined with a good Sealed Deck it’s just plain awesome. Enjoy discovering these delightful combos all by yourself – no help from the likes of us: Lord + Pyre Zombie (return him at ANY time, rather than just Upkeep, for B less); Lord + any zombie you like, really. Phlegming amazing.

Maggot Carrier
We’re back with the exotic diseases again, aren’t we? I dunno – shall we give it a four?

Morgue Toad
“Once upon a time Ravenous Rat, Morgue Toad, Mole Worm, and Rysorian Badger set off on the open road in their Praedesh Gypsy caravan searching for adventure. Suddenly, they were all run over (or ‘over-run’, geddit?) by a sports car. ‘Toot, toot!’ exclaimed Toady, on his way to the graveyard.” (from ‘Putting The Wind Up Autumn Willow’ by Kenneth Grayogre)

Nightscape Battlemage/Nightscape Familiar
Seen it. Done it. Got the pre-release T-shirt. There’s nothing to see here, please move along.

Noxious Vapors
Vapors has a U in, doesn’t it? I’m pretty sure of this, actually. I’m not nit-picking, but given the sheer number of people who will see a copy of this card at some point over the next few months (and we’re talking hundreds of thousands), it’s our responsibility to make sure that typos like this don’t corrupt the gentle minds of the punters-at-large (and some of them are excessively at-large, though I’m assured it’s all medical ie. they’re ‘allergic’ to exercise and are ‘medically’ dependent on pies). Okay, if you like that sort of thing.

Phyrexian Bloodstock
I don’t want to talk about this. Not now, not ever. Sorry.

Phyrexian Scooter
Isn’t this what Phyrexian Mods ride around on? W.T.M

Planeswalker’s Scorn
Combos amazingly with Planeswalker’s Baby-back ribs, Planeswalker’s Fries, and Urza’s Onion Rings! G.I.L

Shriek Of Dread
See also an infinite number of ‘Magic Is Dying’ articles. Unplayable – even as a joke.

Sinister Strength
Good. What more can I say? You see for yourself!

Will this kill Fires? Will it bog-roll. G.I.L (if you’re playing someone with a big, green monster like the Wurm, or that stick-insect Molimo)

Volcano Imp

Warped Devotion
Looks nice, stinks like a sweaty arse….

Stave Three – Being A Shout Of Dismay At The Continuance Of This Tortuously Uninteresting Tripe









(sound of rapid gun-fire)


* – Fellow of the Royal Society of Bakers, Confectioners, and Dough-men; Emeritus Professor of Filou Technology at St Winifred’s Primary School, Orpington; and three times winner of the Poultry Association’s”Good Egg” award.

** – Tiramasu

*** – Apart from those of us that are intolerant to dairy products, in which case I believe the substance was soya milk, or maybe rye bread

**** – PH – what’s your buy price for this?

***** – (c) 2001 Brett ‘With the emphasis on B and R’ Antill